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Ellevate Dubai's "Own It" Forum Inspires Action Among Attendees

On the morning of 30 April 2017, the Ellevate Dubai leadership team hosted over 215 delegates at The Address Dubai Marina, United Arab Emirates.

With a packed line-up of industry experts and thought leaders, the morning kicked off with a recorded speech by the Chair of Ellevate Network, Sallie Krawcheck. Sallie’s recent book “Own It: The Power of Women at Work”, was the inspiration for the key theme of the day – building women’s confidence in the areas of work and finances. The overall objective of the Forum was to create lasting change by inspiring women to take action and ‘Own It’.

Ellevate Dubai President, and Senior Vice President at GE Capital Aviation Services, Rana Nawas gave opening remarks that addressed our fear of failure; she also set up the day around how workplaces need to improve and update processes to sidestep unconscious biases. The crowd then heard from the first panel, “Own Your Finances”, which was about managing and investing accumulated wealth. This was followed by an engaging fireside chat with tech entrepreneurs. Attendees then broke into a structured networking session of roundtables, with various themes for discussion.

The final panel discussion was themed “Own Your Workplace”, which created a lively conversation in the room. The morning was closed by an inspirational Emirate spoken-word poet, Afra Atiq, who brought the crowd to tears!

Feedback from the day has been incredibly positive. A strong message from attendees was that the seniority of speakers and other attendees meant that they were able to hear from and network with women at the top of their game and leading industry in the Middle East. For example, speakers included Rania Rostom, GE Head of Innovation and Communications, Rania Rizk, PepsiCo SVP of Legal and Nicoletta Papakyprianou, Thomson Reuters Head of HR.

The structured networking session was buzzing with energy and received high marks. Attendees loved the topics selected, as well as the ability to have open and frank discussions with like-minded professionals.

People said they rated: “The outstanding speakers”; “The openness of speakers”; “The very relevant topics”; “Speakers. Insight. Atmosphere.”; “The spirit of the participants: OWN IT!”; “The structured networking break – excellent idea”; “All the awesome women I met”; “All of it!”

On social media our hashtag #OwnIt gathered momentum with speakers, sponsors, partners and participants. Some of the comments included: “#ownit workshop showcased honest, genuine discussions on challenges & true display of support + collaboration #proud”, “#OwnIt great panel on owning your workplace with boss ladies from @pepsi @GE_Hewar @thomsonreuters @PearlInitiative”, “At the packed @EllevateDUB annual forum today. This year's theme is #OWNIT ! Because that's what bossladies do!”, “Great panel discussion very happy to participate and meet like-minded inspiring women.”

Since the Forum, there have been hearing stories of attendees taking serious action. Examples include the establishment of several women’s networks within organisations, attendees establishing a mentoring relationship with other participants, as well as corporates signing up whole teams to join Ellevate so they can push women’s networking high on the agenda.

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